A very strange story is emanating from the Dutch top-flight, after FC Emmen were reported to the KNVB by Fortuna Sittard after being offered an ‘incentive premium’ by the club.
In the Dutch 1st tier, similar to the Bundesliga, there is a relegation playoff spot. Whichever team falls into 16th place at the end of the season is required to play in a playoff match against the team who ends up 3rd in the second tier.
This season, FC Emmen sit in 16th with just one game to play, a solitary point behind Willem II.
FC Emmen are scheduled to play VVV, who have already been relegated. Willem II will face Fortuna Sittard, who themselves have nothing to play for.
Knowing this, it is reported that FC Emmen have offered an ‘incentive premium’ to Fortuna Sittard, to encourage them to take points from Willem II on the final day.
Fortuna reported Emmen to the KNVB immediately, to avoid themselves facing any punishment.
Not a new thing
Teams providing incentives is no new thing in the Eredivisie.
De Telegraaf tells the story of how a PSV sponsor promised iPhones to De Graafschap for securing a result against Ajax… which they did.
A PSV sponsor promised the players of De Graafschap a brand new iPhone 7 at the time, prior to the 1-1 against Ajax, which won PSV the title on the final day. But this is no longer allowed, so FC Emmen can count on an investigation by the independent prosecutor of the KNVB.
However, such offers are now banned, and therefore Emmen are likely to be investigated.
What the punishment could prove to be is as of yet unknown, however, should the situation be deemed in a category similar to match-fixing, the reality is that a points deduction is not a crazy assumption.
Should this be the case, Emmen could see themselves drop into an automatic relegation spot, rather than simply the playoffs.
Worrying times ahead. A story certainly to keep an eye on.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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